Keith Fraser, Vancouver Sun
A much-delayed trial for four Mounties charged in connection with the Surrey Six murder investigation has been adjourned again for another year.
The trial of the accused was to open in September before a B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver, but has been delayed until Sept. 25, 2017, due in part to a pre-trial ruling that has been appealed to the B.C. Court of Appeal.
“The court concluded that the prudent course of action would be to adjourn the proceedings to allow for the completion of the appeal process and any other matters that may need to be addressed,” Daniel McLaughlin, spokesman for B.C.’s Criminal Justice Branch, said in an email.
“The issue under appeal is one that is of significance to the trial process. I am not able to confirm the legal issue involved as there is a ban on publication in place.”
A two-day hearing on June 16 and 17 has been set to deal with the issue under appeal at the B.C. Court of Appeal. The court registry said the file is under seal.
In 2011, then-RCMP Sgt. Derek Brassington, Sgt. David Attew, Cpl. Paul Johnston and Cpl. Danny Michaud were charged with various offences related to their conduct of the investigation into B.C.’s biggest gangland slaying.
The case initially ran into difficulties when defence lawyers for the accused withdrew over a dispute involving who would pay for the defence’s legal bills.
The trial was first scheduled to start in September 2013, but was put over until September 2014, when it was again adjourned for a year. In September 2015, the trial was put over to this year.
Brassington is charged with seven offences, including breach of trust, fraud, obstruction of justice and compromising the safety of a witness, identified as Jane Doe. In May 2013, he resigned after being charged with theft in an unrelated prosecution.
Attew, who faces six counts, including falsifying overtime claims and compromising the safety of a witness, also resigned from the force.
Johnston and Michaud face four and three charges, respectively, including breach of trust, obstruction of justice and attempting to mislead investigators from the Ontario Provincial Police.
Johnston resigned from the force in June 2013 and Michaud remains suspended with pay.
“It’s continually assessed but there is still a court process and a disciplinary hearing to go through,” RCMP spokesman Staff Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said of Michaud’s suspension.
Six men were shot to death in a 15th-floor apartment in the Balmoral Towers in Surrey in October 2007.
Two men have been convicted of first-degree murder and one man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the slayings. A fourth man pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and a fifth accused pleaded guilty to helping the killers access the building. One accused, Jamie Bacon, is awaiting trial.